2015 Predictions: What’s All the Hype about Energy Management Systems?

Indigo Teiwes

Our last blog highlighted the top three priorities of respondents to Ecova’s 2015 Energy and Sustainability Predictions survey – drawing on the expertise of more than 500 North American energy, sustainability, facility, and finance professionals. In short these were:

  1. Implementing no-cost, low-cost efficiency efforts.
  2. Supporting strategic energy and sustainability management plans/programs.
  3. Identifying and implementing capital expenditures to support energy efficiency projects.

A common theme shared by these three priorities, as well as other results from the survey, is the repeated utilization of energy management systems, or the recognized needs these systems address, which are explained below.

analyzing-real-time-energy-data

EMS/BMS (energy management systems/building management systems), are the most common technology utilized by businesses with more sophisticated energy management programs. These systems provide a level of granular and real-time data that cannot be gathered in any other effective way. Nearly 50 percent of Ecova’s survey respondents have installed EMS/BMS across their entire building portfolios, in a portion of their buildings, or in pilot locations. Another 6 percent have budgets approved for EMS/BMS investment in the next six to twelve months. That means over 60 percent of respondents currently utilize or plan to utilize EMS/BMS in 2015.

These percentages demonstrate the important role EMS/BMS play in organizations with holistic energy management programs and provide justification for an accelerated pace of adoption by those who haven’t yet bought into EMS/BMS technology. An EMS/BMS solution aggregates and normalizes the site-specific data needed to reduce energy consumption, improve operational performance, and proactively manage equipment. Several survey respondents indicated that investing in an EMS/BMS was the smartest energy and sustainability investment their organizations made in 2014. These same respondents indicated that a primary benefit was increased visibility into how specific buildings were using—or losing—energy. That visibility is achieved far more quickly and with greater depth with EMS/BMS than through utility bill data alone.

The payback on this level of visibility is clear as companies are able to pin point equipment and systems that are using excessive or unnecessary energy and respond rapidly.

That same payback is driving another trend uncovered by our survey. Nearly half of respondents indicate that they expect increased resources this year to support their energy and sustainability initiatives, and EMS/BMS are a part of those plans. Companies, who have the resources to do so, should consider adopting EMS/BMS technology. When actively managed, the value of EMS/BMS can be significant:

  • Maximize life of equipment/asset investments
  • Ensure their assets are running optimally
  • Identify issues with assets before a critical failure
  • Improve operational performance
  • Manage building and occupancy comfort
  • Inform future equipment, building, investments

The financial benefit of effective energy and sustainability management is clear, and that benefit isn’t lost on our survey respondents. As was the case in last year’s survey, the cost of energy was by far the top driver for energy and sustainability initiatives. Here’s to an exciting 2015, full of opportunity!

To learn more about energy management savings opportunities for the New Year, you can view the recorded webinar on our 2015 Energy & Sustainability Priorities and Predictions.

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